Since President Donald Trump ran for the 2016 elections, one of his goals was to improve the issues related to veterans’ services.
In March of this year, Trump signed an executive order known as the National Roadmap to Empowering Veterans and End Suicide. The mission is to support those soldiers in a critical situation and don’t know of the VA programs available. The president showed concern about this issue. In a press conference, from the White House, he said, “Our mission is to mobilize every level of American society to save the lives of our great veterans and support our heroes in need.”
“To every veteran: I want you to know that you have an entire nation of more than 300 million people behind you. You will never, ever be forgotten. We are with you all the way. I think you know that,” he said.
Trump Administration Policies
In August 2017, President Trump signed an update to the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act to streamline the claims and appeals process for VA beneficiaries, the Western Journal reported.
The following year the department announced the delivery of 81,000 appeals decisions and disability services.
From the White House, a hotline was opened to assist more quickly with VA processing, resulting in 94 percent of 157,346 cases improving since June 2017, and budgets for meeting this goal were increased by President Trump. The budget was a total of $86.5 billion in funding for the department, including about $73.1 billion for health care alone.
In a White House memo in 2017, the president promoted a telehealth program that included a quality medical service aimed at veterans across the country. The program had the proper care from a phone or computer to schedule appointments or VA facilities.
“This will significantly expand access to care for our veterans, especially for those who need help in the area of mental health … and also in suicide prevention,” Trump said. “It will make a tremendous difference for the Veterans in rural locations.”
Before Trump’s presidency, the VA long neglected its services, one of the shortcomings being the long lines veterans waited to enter a doctor’s office in a hospital or clinic, and this crisis was reason to use it as a campaign issue in the 2008 elections, according to a The Week report.
Under Barack Obama, Eric Shinseki, a general known for speaking out against the VA’s bureaucracy, was appointed VA Secretary. Shinseki also proposed providing incentives for executives to compete with private sector suppliers. After five years, however, it was revealed through complaints that dozens of veterans had died because of the denial of access to health care at the Veterans Administration in Phoenix.
In addition, it became evident that the waiting list was not registered at a VA center and that executives earned bonuses while veterans died in the waiting room. After that public incident, former President Obama’s action was to fire Shinseki, and clean up the VA’s reputation by naming Robert McDonald as the new manager.
McDonald’s administration was deficient and there were no positive changes, in his comments he implied that many veterans go to the doctor when they doubt their health, not because they feel they are going to die. Also, he stated that the waiting line of a hospital is like the waiting line to enter Disney, unlike in the latter there is fun.
A promise kept
“We’re going to take care of our veterans like they’ve never been taken care of before,” Trump promised months before the 2016 elections. And that promise was transformed into actions throughout his administration, specifically targeting the VA administration. Compared to previous administrations, including that of former President Obama, benefits to ex-combatants increased.
Today being a war veteran is synonymous with pride and courage, in the entire history of the country there was no other president like Donald Trump dedicated to caring for these soldiers.